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No Longer Flesh People
by Bob Crawford

Dear Luli, John, DeeDee & Fred,

This morning, I had a modest breakthrough after reading your latest e-mailed piece, Fred, followed by the Summit Living excerpt, and a quote by Thomas Merton. I still get caught in the vortex of self-pity as I compare my life with those around me. This week was no different. As I told you, Luli, the entire job thing has left me feeling like a complete failure even in light of great kids, a loving wife, a comfortable home etc. Two interviews stirred up all sorts of self-analysis-paralysis and all sorts of anger, bitterness, expectations, frustrations and self-doubt. Truth be told, I don't like this dying thing one stinkin' bit until I get to the resurrection side where I proudly boast, "I told you so."

Fred repeats Jesus' question, "Which is harder...?" and I find myself more focused on the healing and not this radical state of forgiveness we have been introduced to in Christ. "Yeah, yeah, yeah...okay, I'm forgiven. Big deal!. Here I am with the same old palsy and nothing has changed. So what if I'm forgiven?" But then the "get up" command comes and I have to live out of something totally new and different. I have to challenge all the years of my past with the totally fresh start with Him, right now, and either believe Him at His word, or keep my old comfortable palsy mat.

Then comes Norman. He writes, "We know and can employ through the Spirit the powers of the world to come in the measure that we have died to enslavement to the possessions, glories, ways of this world. It is a real death, as prelude to a real new life. The Lord Christ made some strange statements, such as that it costs some an eye or limb to enter the Kingdom and that a disciple must forsake all, must "hate" loved ones, possessions, life.

By this He meant that such a one must pass through fires in which the selfish claims of natural loves and the selfish hold on the "good things" of life, not to speak of the bad, must be burnt out to make room for the influx of supernatural grace, vision and resources. Holy and hidden mystery -- that through the cross is power, through the cross glory, through the cross joy, through the cross fruitfulness. Here, the daily dying comes into play, because we really are dead in Him. And I think to myself, how my very position and place in life is the best for me even though I have been comparing it with others and complaining and whining about it. Then Merton's excerpt: "For now I had entered into the everlasting movement of that gravitation which is the very life and spirit of God: God's own gravitation towards the depths of His own infinite nature, His goodness without end. And God, that center, Who is everywhere, and whose circumference is nowhere, finding me, through incorporation with Christ, incorporated into this immense and tremendous gravitational movement which is love, which is the Holy Spirit, loved me. (Seven Storey Mountain, p.225) And here is the breakthrough: We are all in a free fall into that Center, Who is Love. Caught in His gravitational pull, I first resist clinging to my palsy mat of self pity, holding on to what is comfortable and known, "the selfish hold on the "good things" of life, not to speak of the bad", as Norman states. But then, through the very experiences on the paths we each have to walk, I begin to see that what I am holding on to is only slowing my descent into that which I really want and desire. Career is not the Life and Love of God. Neither is money, or parents, or children, or success, or houses, and cars, or anything in all of His creation. Let it go and fall freely into His loving arms. Let it all fall away, like St. Francis did as he stripped himself of his earthly father's clothes to stand naked before the Bishop, and to be clothed by Christ. I resist the winds of the Spirit that pull me into the eye of the Storm. Thinking that I am saving my life by holding on to palm trees and things that will be destroyed by the Hurricane Christ, I am just resisting the inevitable Center where there is nothing but love and peace. Let go and fly through the debris. Do not resist His gravitational pull. It is Love, Himself.

You are right, Luli. We are not Flesh people anymore. We are Spirit people.

Love you all.